If it happened in Canada it would probably be called Front de Liberation de Baiser (FLB) or KFF, Kiss Freedom Fighters, the movement to preserve freedom of affection in public. Men and women holding hands or kissing, or even plain making out, is a commonplace sight at Toronto and Montreal’s subways and subway stations. One of the reasons we don’t see it so often in Vancouver is that public displays of affection have been reserved almost exclusively for gay couples, which shows how much we have evolved out of the Medieval Age on Canada’s civilised West Coast.
Passengers at an Ankara, Turkey, subway station last week were shocked to hear an announcement calling for the “observation of the rules of morality” apparently made in response to a young couple holding hands while waiting for the train. Management of the government-operated subway later explained that the announcement was made after security cameras observed inappropriate behaviour by some passengers, and they had a right to protect the public from such behaviour. This prompted an opposition member of parliament to file an official inquiry at the National Assembly questioning the government’s right to dictate morality. Among the questions posed by the opposition MP were:
– What is the main function of security cameras? Taking measurements of morality?
– Who has the job and the authority to judge passengers’ morality? Is there such a job description?
– How do you propose to guard against the possibility that such a policy may develop into the general monitoring of the population and collection of personal data on citizens?
A government spokesman retorted that some people confuse immorality with freedom of expression.
A public protest organised yesterday by a group of young Turks was met by a strong police force that blocked entries into the subway station. The group of men and women displayed signs like “Kissing Is Good For You”, “We Have The Right To Kiss”, “Free Kisses”, “Shall We Make Love?”, and made sure that their kissing in public was captured by news cameras. The group was later attacked by a larger and angry group of Islamist extremists chanting “God Is Great” and “Islam Will Triumph Even If It Means Shedding Our Blood To The Last Drop.” Police intervention between the two groups prevented what could have turned into a violent confrontation. A group of people in Brussels gathered at a subway station to kiss in support of Turkish KISS.
There are increasing signs that Turkey’s ruling Islamist party AKP has an agenda of imposing Islam’s medieval moral code on the country albeit gradually, and will do it by executive order or legislation if not by suasion. It used its parliamentary majority last week to ban the sale of alcohol after 10PM, which will have the effect of an ice-cold shower on Istanbul’s legendary night life. Several municipalities throughout the country have already banned the sale of liquor at restaurants, private clubs and places of entertainment. Advertising of any kind or sponsorship of alcoholic beverages are also banned. Prime Minister Erdogan declared last month that ayran, watered down yogurt, is the Turkish national beverage and not raki, the Turkish ouzo as if to spite Ataturk, the republic’s legendary founder. Ataturk brought his friends and foes together at an almost daily Raki Table to discuss affairs of state and probably started the Raki Table Tradition that so many Turks are addicted to. While it’s hard to dispute the health benefits of yogurt it remains to be seen if an unhappy and flatulent population will be healthier for Turkish politics. An AKP member of parliament said, apologetically, “But ayran doesn’t go with fish.”
Turkish Airlines has already stopped serving liquor on several routes and prohibited its flight attendants from wearing red lipstick, presumably to avoid looking like the redlight district in the sky to the pious. The airline withdrew its plans, however, to introduce new uniforms that would’ve covered female flight attendants from head to toe after protests made it clear that it could affect business.
The Candid Dictionary defines Turkish Kiss as “a kiss that will make a believer out of you.”